I don't intend on creating a false dichotomy regarding reaction or impact, but I think it's interesting to contrast the effect of Sept. 11, especially the images of and associated with that heinous event that were broadcast into middle and high school television sets across the country, on youth identity-formation of both Muslim-Americans and Americans of other faiths. I really wonder what the effect of having televisions in classrooms had on shaping America's national consciousness regarding the attacks as opposed to the less image-driven "day of infamy" — Dec. 7, 1941.
The impact on non-Muslim Americans (people of other faiths):
For today's teenagers and college students, that somber September morning brought their adolescent lives into sharp focus.
``Everyone was super freaked out,'' said Julie Hopper, who was an eighth-grader in Santa Cruz that day. ``There were all these rumors about other attacks in San Francisco, and my aunt worked at the Pentagon, and I didn't really know what was happening with her until later, when my mom found out that she was OK.''
Hopper, now a freshman at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, said that Sept. 11 definitely sparked her interest in foreign affairs: She plans to major in political science and is eager to take a world religion class to learn more about Islam.
The impact on Muslim-Americans:
Many young Muslim Americans say they felt the impact personally because the 19 hijackers were all Arab men, 15 of them from Saudi Arabia. At school, some students were harassed. Others saw their local mosques vandalized.
And for the first time, many young Muslim Americans had to explore their own feelings about Islam and cultural identity.